Speaking Jose…


Second Day in LA – Rodeo Drive and New Years
January 6, 2009, 4:44 am
Filed under: Events, Family, Food, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Second day in Los Angeles and after trying to sleep off as much of the jet lag as possible, we went out to Porto’s Bakery in Burbank for breakfast.  Porto’s is a Cuban bakery that offers great breakfast and lunch options, while the bakery puts out amazing pastries and cakes.  We had been there once before with David and Amie, so we had an idea of what we were doing (its a little overwhelming at first, especially if its crowded).  I had a great chorizo omelette on Cuban bread with a cortadito coffee (similar to a cafe au lait but with espresso) and fresh squeezed orange juice.  The absolute best item to get there are the potato balls, imagine a mashed potato ball the size of a tennis ball, but stuffed with some ground beefed and then deep fried! Very delicious, but not exactly breakfast fare. 

After the delicious breakfast we headed out to Rodeo Drive to take a look at the shops and mainly people watch (Kristen) and car watch (Jose). Actually saw a lot of Penn State fans who were in town for the Rose Bowl and Kristen saw Larry King walking along the street talking on his cell phone (“Caller, hello!”). We had lunch at Cheesecake Factory and then headed back to the hotel to rest up before New Years Eve at Amie and David’s apartment.

The party at David and Amie’s was a lot of fun, we got to meet some of Amie’s friends from Yahoo! (including the minds behind the Daemon’s TV blog) and eat some great Italian and Brazilian food. I learned to be very humble after Americ and David both schooled me in Wii Tennis, but I got my revenge when we played Buzz! It was a great party and its becoming a little bit of an annual tradition for us now. Got to see the ball drop in New York (again, we caught the original at 9 PM on the West Coast) and brought the New Years in with family and friends.

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Santa was good to Jose this year
December 26, 2008, 3:54 am
Filed under: Events, Food, Pictures | Tags: , , ,

2008-christmas-tree

Santa brought a lot of good presents to me this year 🙂 Got a couple of great cooking books from Mom and a copy of The Starbucks Experience from my brother. Kristen rocked and got me a pair of nice flannel PJ bottoms and a universal remote (which I spent all day playing with and programming 🙂 )

My in-laws got me a new bottle of Sapphire Gin which we got to break out today at Christmas Dinner. We had a few people over and it was a little crazy getting everything ready, but we had a good time. Highlight of the evening was my mother in-law leaving us some of her home-baked cookies and buckeyes (pictured below)!

ruths buckeyes



Preparing for Christmas Eve
December 24, 2008, 3:47 pm
Filed under: Events, Family | Tags: , , ,

Greetings to everyone! I hope your Holiday season is going well. It’s been about a month since my last post, but its been quite a month. Between wrapping up this semester at Business school and working on a new rebalance project at Detroit Diesel, the time to sit down and put pen to paper (or in this case fingers to keyboard) has been difficult to come by. The last few days have been especially crazy as I wrap up work stuff while getting the Christmas shopping done. Thankfully its all done, so tonight we can go have a nice Christmas Eve dinner with Kristen’s family. I had thought about writing something about what Christmas means to me, but I think Linus from the Charlie Brown Christmas special says it best (see the video below).

Even though its a happy time of year for us, I get a little blue because my Grandfather Pico passed away around this time in 1996.   We usually went to his house on Christmas day to meet up with the rest of the Pico clan and have a big Christmas buffet where everyone had a great time.  He was a well known Ear Nose Throat doctor (Otolaryngologist for those want the complicated title) in Puerto Rico who was passionate about the care of his patients. He was born one of seven children at the family farm in Coamo, an agrarian area of Puerto Rico (more so in 1912, when my grandfather was born).  He worked hard and  got into Villanova University in Philadelphia (no small feat when your commute to school involved a weeklong trip on a steam ship), where he got his medical degree.  

One of my favorite stories about my grandfather was that he and a friend would go to the some of the poorer Italian neighborhoods in Philadelphia on the weekends and provide free medical help.  The people they helped would then invite them to huge Sunday dinners to repay them for their help, which was great if you were a Puerto Rican in Philadelphia with little money of your own.  He lived a great life, traveling throughout the world and having adventures in the oddest places, like the time he ended up treating a relative of Harry Winston while taking on a steam ship to Spain.

 The main reason I bring this up is that I didn’t learn most of this about my Grandfather until after he died and I wish I had spent more time talking to him and learning about his life, I would now be a richer and better person for it. So for the Holidays I ask that you take some time out from the Egg Nog and Fruit Cake and talk to your elders a little more, maybe you’ll learn something you never knew before!

So before this post goes out of sight, Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!



What I’m Thankful For This Thanksgiving
November 27, 2008, 5:01 pm
Filed under: Events, Food | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

On this Thanksgiving these are some of the things I am thankful for…

Everyone enjoy your turkey and stuffing and drive safely!



An 800 Word Rant on the Auto Bailout
November 13, 2008, 11:58 pm
Filed under: Events, politics | Tags: , , , ,

Two and a half years. That’s how long I’ve been working on my MBA so far (its a part time program). Spent the last two years learning how to read a balance sheet, how to calculate net present value and internal rate of return, how to talk to creative employees versus analytical employees. I might as well have gone to Culinary School. The free market ideology is getting its butt kicked (with help from a Republican President no less!) and everyone seems to be getting in line for the payout.

Here’s my beef with the bailout for automotive companies, its not that they shouldnt get one. We already threw out the concept of government interfering with financial markets a few months and $700 Billion dollars ago. Washington D.C. has already set a precedent and for better or for worse, they will likely do a bailout. Whats really ticking me off is that no one seems to really be upset about this (minus some libertarians) and that no one in Detroit seems to be asking “Do we deserve a bailout?”

Bailouts should be reserved for extraordinary circumstances outside of a company or industry’s control. The airlines were bailed out after September 11 because of the harm caused to the industry from outside, non-economic forces. Fannie and Freddie did not get into trouble because of some unexpected outside force, they started down that path because of bad management and a government that turned a blind eye to the situation until it was standing in front of them screaming like a 5 year old throwing a tantrum at Toys-R-Us. Similarly, the majority of banks and the insurance giants got into trouble by using risky business practices and not being able to rectify their activities in time before it was too late.

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Democracy Lessons from a Scotsman
November 6, 2008, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Events, Television | Tags: , , ,

Allright, so the election is over (finally!). I am as much a news and political junkie as there is out there, but this last election cycle took it all out of me. As with the way Michigan Football is going this season, my choice for President lost. Still, it was a historic night for America and its good to see more people interested and involved in the process (only to see their young idealism be crushed once reality sets in, but I digress). One of the nice things about this election cycle was that I started to watch the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and saw some of the funniest, wittiest stuff said about politics and the electorate in a long time. He doesnt espound one ideology or another, but just takes shots at both sides for what they are doing wrong and helps ground you as to what’s really important. I embedded one of my favorite clips from the past few months to show you what I mean, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

By the way, Ferguson is from Scotland, hence the title of this post.

Craig Ferguson on People who Don’t Vote



Preparing to Watch the Olympics
August 8, 2008, 1:00 pm
Filed under: Events, Sports | Tags: , , ,

I love the Olympics, not as much as I love Trader Joe’s Kettle Corn, but its close. As a sports fan its an opportunity to basically have non-stop sports for 24 hours for 16 days. As a Puerto Rican, the Olympics are one of two big moments to show off our national pride (the other is the Miss Universe pageant).

My friend Jed Christiansen has actually made the trip out to Beijing with his lovely wife and says that he should be updating his blog frequently while out there. He and his wife are big into rowing (they both belong to crews back home in London) so this is a big deal for him and I get to live vicariously through his experiences.

While Jed will likely focus his attention to rowing and it’s sculls and coxswains, I have always been a huge fan of Swimming.  I’m going to try to follow all of Michael Phelp’s events, especially the 400m Individual Medley, possibly the best Olympic race since the 4 x 100m Free Relay at the Sydney games in 2000. Phelps is the best swimmer in the world and definitely one of the best in history, and just like Michael Jordan with the Bulls in the 90’s, you want to watch him because you know he can make history every time he races.  I’m also going to try to follow Katie Hoff, who is setting herself up to be the female Michael Phelps if she can do well in most of her races.